Constitutional Officers Encourage Kentuckians to Help Stop Hunger
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 20, 2019) — Commissioner of Agriculture Ryan Quarles, Attorney General Andy Beshear, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, Auditor Mike Harmon and Treasurer Allison Ball spent the morning at the Capitol Rotunda Wednesday rallying Kentuckians to join the fight against hunger.
According to the Map the Meal Gap report, one in six Kentuckians is food-insecure, meaning they lack consistent access to enough food for a healthy, active lifestyle. Children are disproportionately impacted by hunger; more than 1 in 5 of children in Kentucky struggle with hunger.
Commissioner Quarles gave an update of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s (KDA’s) Hunger Initiative and urged all Kentuckians to help fight hunger.
“When I started the Department of Agriculture’s Kentucky Hunger Initiative, I wanted to bring together all parts of our food distribution chain to fight hunger, from that farmer who puts the seed in the ground to our grocery stores and food banks,” Quarles said. “While we have accomplished a lot, including the enactment of the strongest food donation law in the country, work remains. Kentuckians can take part in the fight against hunger by checking the Farms To Food Banks box on their state tax return and know that more Kentucky-grown fruits and vegetables are going to those who need it most.”
Every Kentucky taxpayer who receives an income tax refund may check a box on line 39e of their tax return to designate part of the refund to go to the KDA’s Farms to Food Banks trust fund. In 2018 state income taxpayers donated nearly $19,000.00 to the fund. The fund is also supported by an appropriation of $500,000/year in the state budget. In 2018, 350 Kentucky farmers from 64 counties provided over 3 million pounds of Kentucky-grown fruits and vegetables through Feeding Kentucky’s Farms to Food Banks program. That is the equivalent of filling half a plate full of fruits and vegetables for over 5 million meals.
At the event Attorney General Beshear launched the third Legal Food Frenzy campaign to raise resources for hunger relief. A collaborative effort among the Office of the Attorney General, Kentucky Bar Association Young Lawyers Division and the Office of the Secretary of State, the campaign raised the equivalent of 830,000 meals since 2017.
“In our state, nearly one in six adults and one in five children go hungry at some point in the year – and far too many families have to decide between paying the bills and putting food on the table,” said Beshear. “I am proud to host the Legal Food Frenzy competition that brings Kentucky’s legal community together to raise funds to help our food banks ensure Kentucky children don’t have to worry about their next meal.”
To raise awareness of hunger, Governor Matt Bevin has proclaimed February as Hunger Free Kentucky Month in Kentucky.
“Anti-hunger advocates in Kentucky are honored to partner with our elected officials in the fight against hunger,” said Tamara Sandberg, Executive Director of Feeding Kentucky. “As the need for food assistance continues to rise in Kentucky, it is imperative that we continue working together to find solutions to hunger.”
The hosts of the event announced their rebranding from Kentucky Association of Food Banks to Feeding America.
For more information, go to FeedingKY.org.